Finnish Trio Hope To Help Germany’s Dresden Monarchs Win Title

As the Dresden Monarchs prepare for the German Football League playoffs for the ninth year in a row against the Saarland Hurricanes this weekend, they will be looking to a trio of Finnish teammates to help them over the next three hurdles to win the German Bowl.

The German title has always eluded the Monarchs and in fact Dresden has only ever played in the final once, in 2013, when they lost to the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.

This season, head coach John Leijten, is hoping his Finnish connection will help him capture the coveted German Bowl in his third year with the team.

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Sebastian Sagne Photo credit: BK Foto

Receivers Sebastian Sagne, Micky Kyei and defensive back Santeri Inkinen.

The Monarchs have relied on their high-powered offense this season and have topped the league in points (708), touchdowns (101) and total yards (7,041), passing yards (4,506) and passing touchdown (65).

Behind the throwing arm of quarterback Brandon Connette, the Monarchs have soared into the German playoffs. Connette led the German league in passing yardage with 4,384 yards and in passing touchdowns with 63.

His favorite targets? Yep, Finnish receivers Sebastian Sagne and Micky Kyei.

Sagne caught 58 passes for 1,067 yards and 17 touchdowns. Kyei was close behind with 1,019 yards in receptions and 16 touchdowns on 72 catches.

In other words, the duo accounted for almost half of Dresden’s reception yards and touchdowns.

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Micky Kyei Photo credit: Christian Gossler

Inkinen has been starting at corner off and on all season and for the past month has played a huge part in the Monarchs defense according to Leijten. He has come into his own.

How did these three end up in Dresden, Germany?

Finland’s national team head coach Tuomas Heikkinen. Leijten has known Heikkinen for many years and in a conversation about players Heikkinen mentioned these three.

After looking at film, Leijten liked the three and trusting Heikkinen’s judgement he signed them.

“They have been a great addition to the team. All three are down to earth, hard working players. Sagne and Kyei began working with Connette in the off season and obviously this has paid off.”

As both Sagne and Kyei mentioned in an interview with the Finnish American Football Association:

Sagne:

“Brandon is an absolutely staggering quarterback who relies 100 percent on his receivers. And as a result everyone on offense is on the same page.”

Kyei echos this sentiment:

“He teaches a lot and makes sure that we will see a one to one on the ground. I dare say that Brandon brings the best out of all of us.”

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Santeri Inkinen Photo credit: BK Foto

Inkinen arrived in Dresden from the Seinäjoki Crocodiles and he had only played one season there. His rapid development both in Finland and now with the Monarchs has been noticeable. He led the Monarchs in interceptions with four and had seven passes defended and three breakups. His improvement has has given Leijten the ability to move players and North American imports around more freely on defense.

“In the past three to four weeks he has really elevated his game which is perfect as we enter the playoffs. He has been working so hard at improving and it is paying off.”

All three have been a delight to have on the team according to Leijten:

“They are all very focused and on the field they rarely miss an opportunity to make a play.”

The Monarchs head into the German quarterfinals this weekend where they will face the Saarland Hurricanes from the German South Division. Dresden finished second in the North behind the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions while Saarland was the third place team in the South.

Original story from Finnish American Football Association website.

 

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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